If only he walks the talk!

Our PM gave a very ‘good’ speech in UN. Good in the sense that what was expounded in the speech is correct and morally right.

He said that ““We must, and I repeat, we must urgently reclaim the centre and the moral high ground that has been usurped from us. We must choose negotiations over confrontation. We must choose to work together and not against each other. And we must give this effort utmost priority for time is not on our side”

He also urged the US president to”‘galvanise the moderates, bring in NGOs and social movements so that more people would see the importance of taking a moderate stance”.

This is indeed what is needed in the whole world.

This is indeed what is needed in Malaysia.

My question to the PM is this:

Why is this — the essence of his speech —  not practiced in our own country?

He, as the PM, has the power to walk the talk , to do what he preaches overseas.

Why aren’t those uttering extremist words dealt with using existing laws? The incidents of the 2 principals and the words of some civil servants ( like the one in BTN) are certainly extremist, no one can deny that. Why aren’t any actions being taken against these people?

When he urges Obama to galvanise the moderates and bring in the NGOs , did he not realise that he has not reined in the NGO group called Perkasa? Did he not realise that the perception is that, by keeping quiet and refraining from attacking this group, Perkasa is seen as an outsourced extremist group from the Big Brother?

His speech is certainly good. If Obama does what our PM advises, America and the world would be a better place, no doubt about it. But our PM must put his own house in order first before offering such ‘good’ advice to others. Otherwise, there is only one word in the English language to describe the whole situation – hypocrisy!

There is still time to prove that he is not by coming home and taking charge and dealing with these extremists according to the advice he gave others in UN.

Will he walk the talk?

(This article was carried in the breaking views column in Malaysian Insider:

http://www.themalaysianinsider.com/breakingviews/article/if-only-he-walks-the-talk-dr-hsu-dar-ren/ )

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Just a thought

Just came back from a very long  New York-Frankfurt-Singapore-Kuala Lumpur flight.  Felt a little bit disorientated because of the time zone difference.

Flying through many cities this time, one of the  most striking things is that the world is now so much more cosmopolitan and smaller now. In every airport, in every street, whether it is US , Hong Kong or Germany, you see people of different cultures: Caucasians, Middle easterns, Turkishs, Indians, Koreans, Japanese, Chinese everywhere… The whole world is getting to be a big melting pot.  People of different colors and cultures were sitting side by side, whether it was in restaurants, theatres, in departure halls or inside airplanes.

It makes me wonder why are there still people who are still so extreme that they cannot accept a fellow human being as equal; people who still cannot treat fellow human beings fairly.

Without a fair society, our economy would not be able to match those outside, simply because without fairness, we are actually stifling off talents from certain groups and at the same time , we are forcing many innovative people moving overseas.

While other countries are moving ahead, we are actually dropping further and further back. What a pity!

Just a thought on home coming!

Malaysia is “Top” in power distance index

I received an email while on the go, and i thought Wow! Malaysia has finally made it to the top of a world index. This is called the Power Distance Index and I shall post the link as well as the index below here:

The link is

http://www.clearlycultural.com/geert-hofstede-cultural-dimensions/power-distance-index/

For your convenience , this is part of the table: (go to the link for the full table and the map)

Hofstede’s Power distance Index measures the extent to which the less powerful members of organizations and institutions (like the family) accept and expect that power is distributed unequally. This represents inequality (more versus less), but defined from below, not from above. It suggests that a society’s level of inequality is endorsed by the followers as much as by the leaders.

For example, Germany has a 35 on the cultural scale of Hofstede’s analysis. Compared to Arab countries where the power distance is very high (80) and Austria where it very low (11), Germany is somewhat in the middle. Germany does not have a large gap between the wealthy and the poor, but have a strong belief in equality for each citizen. Germans have the opportunity to rise in society.

On the other hand, the power distance in the United States scores a 40 on the cultural scale. The United States exhibits a more unequal distribution of wealth compared to German society. As the years go by it seems that the distance between the ‘have’ and ‘have-nots’ grows larger and larger.


Power Distance Index
1-20 21-40 41-60 61-80 81-100 101-120

Country PDI IDV MAS UAI LTO

Malaysia 104 26 50 36
Guatemala 95 6 37 101
Panama 95 11 44 86
Philippines 94 32 64 44 19
Mexico 81 30 69 82
Venezuela 81 12 73 76
China 80 20 66 40 118
Egypt 80 38 52 68
Iraq 80 38 52 68
Kuwait 80 38 52 68
Lebanon 80 38 52 68
Libya 80 38 52 68
Saudi Arabia 80 38 52 68
United Arab Emirates 80 38 52 68
Ecuador 78 8 63 67
Indonesia 78 14 46 48
Ghana 77 20 46 54 16
India 77 48 56 40 61
Nigeria 77 20 46 54 16
Sierra Leone 77 20 46 54 16
Singapore 74 20 48 8 48
Brazil 69 38 49 76 65
France 68 71 43 86
Hong Kong 68 25 57 29 96
Poland 68 60 64 93

Grand Canyon

Was in Vegas the last few days. This is the first time i am in vegas even though i have visited North America a few times. My main purpose is not to gamble, since i dont, but to go to the Grand Canyon.

I stayed in Bellagio, one of the big hotels on the Strip (the main blvd). Vegas hotels are not expensive , Bellagio is a five starred hotel but it is even cheaper than some of the smaller inns in Time Square New York.  The place is huge. every hotel is a big complex as big as a Genting, and everywhere you go, there are machines and tables for various types of gambling. There are so many shops too. There are many theatre shows, all sorts in fact, if you know what i mean. I went to see David copperfield; he made a car apear out of  thin air; he is still the best illusionist , in my opinion.

I went to Grand Canyon by a plane tour. A small plane from a big company called Papillion. There is a hotel pickup, and the pick up took us to Boulder city outside vegas, where there is a small airport full of small planes and helicopters to do the air tour. The plane was so designed that each seat can see so clearly outside, since it has a big window, like those tour buses, and unlike those commercial planes where you get only a small oval window. The plane flew over Hoover Dam, Lake Mead at quite low level, and slowly so that passengers can take video and shots. The flight took one and a half hour (actual flight back is only half hour, which means that for one hour, you fly over the whole Canyon area( and we landed in an airstrip near the West rim, where a bus took us for a 3 minutes ride to the SKYwalk in West rim. Skywalk is a specially built structure, made of laminated and extra strong glass (it took 4 years to do that , and not by American but rather German architect), that protruded out into the Canyon,few thousand feet above the canyon base,  so that we can see the bottom of the canyon through the glass that we stand on. The Canyon is real spectacular. If South island is scenic , Switzerland is picturesque, Grand Canyon is grand and spectacular. Mother nature is real great, and we humans just do not know how lucky and insignificant that we are, fighting over small issues like colours and faiths.

After the skywalk, a bus took us to an American Indian setup for a free lunch, and a bus (the buses are running like a chain from the airstrip to the skywalk because there are so many planes and helicopters coming from vegas to this air strip). took us back to the airstrip to board the plane back to vegas. All in , it took only 7 hours. A bus tour from vegas will take 13 hours and you can either do the south rim or the west rim tour by bus, and would not be able to see the whole canyon so clearly, and u cannot really have a panoramic viewl ike a plane tour. The cost for the plane tour is only slightly more expensive than the bus tour, (the bus tours is about 180 or so and the plane tour is 229 including lunch). I would recommend the air tour for those going to vegas. You can book thru internet or your hotel in vegas.

I am glad that i come to the Grand Canyon, it makes me feel how small actually we are, and how we should really appreciate protecting all these natural heritage that Mother Nature has given us.. I also feel how lucky i am; many people have come to the Grand Canyon and many more will come in future, but even if we add up all the tourists who have been or who will come in future to this spectacular place, it is and will always be still only a small proportion of the world population.

For those of us who can afford to travel, please be thankful that  we are so much luckier than so many others in the world, and for that, we should try to assist more those less fortunate than us. even though we are not Warren Buffet, we should do our part as best as we can. Touring the canyon makes me more humble, and that is why i posted this.( I normally do not write about my travel)

flying round the globe

I am taking a rather long break travelling to the States for about 3 weeks to visit my son and family as well as do some sightseeing. In fact this will be  my longest break since my university days,  since most of my  breaks were  between 7 to 10 days. The longest was the 3 12-day breaks for my son’s convo back in 2003 , my daughter convo last May as well as in the mid 80s when i visited Texas. This time it will be a 3 week break, and i am taking this opportunity to visit the  Grand Canyon which I have never visited before.

Since not all places will have wifi, and since  hotels charge exorbitant rate for wifi, I may not be able to post regularly. I am going via KL-Singapore-San Francisco route and coming back via the New York-Franfurt-Sinagpore-KL  route, so it is a sort of round the world trip ( At least it is some sort of around globe flight).

I am taking SIA instead of MAS for 2 reasons. First MAS does not fly to San Francisco, and I am stopping by  SF to visit my nephew who is a Cornell trained  architect and now working as a regional planner there.  He was born a Malaysian, studied and grew up in Singapore and became a Singaporean, and now he is a permanent resident in US, doing regional planning for certain regions of California.  He is a clear case of a brain drain.  All these are cases of brain drain (including my children perhaps, but i do hope they will come back one day).

Perhaps we can say  Malaysia is a philanthropist country, we donate so much of talents to all over the world,and  perhaps we should be ‘ proud’ of this fact, and we can ‘console’ ourselves if we lag behind others; it is because of all these Malaysians who have helped other countries grow and so even if we are behind, we should be proud of this!!! Ya?

Second reason is that on SIA long haul flights, there are certain seats in economy class  which are deemd long leg span and you can book this seat at a little extra( i pay slightly over a 100 RM to get a good seat ) , since this is a 20 hour flight, it pays to be more comfortable especially for a six footer like me), and those seats come with power plugs  that you can plug you PC and watch Hong Kong serials and charge your electronic gadgets.

MAS planes do have extra leg span seats at emergency exits but you cannot reserve it and it is on a first come first serve basis, or rather it is at the mercy of the check-in counter staff. . But so far , on most of my travels, they do comply with my request to get those seats ear emergency doors, or those  first row seats facing the bulkheads.  (The partitionis called bulkhead in air travel terms). Bulkhead seats , however can be noisy since they are normally reserved  for families with small kids.

I would only post on and off basis this month. …